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Microsoft didn't take kindly to Apple's recent digs

In a blog post not-so-subtly titled "Apples and Oranges", Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) VP of Communications Frank Shaw gave comment on rival Apple, Inc.'s (AAPL) recent announcement that iWork (Apple's Office software suite) would be included free with its new iPad/iPad Mini tablets.

I. Flame On

Not surprisingly Mr. Shaw wasn't overly impressed, commenting:

Seems like the RDF (Reality Distortion Field) typically generated by an Apple event has extended beyond Cupertino.

Note: If you are the TL;DR type, let me cut to the chase. Surface and Surface 2 both include Office, the world’s most popular, most powerful productivity software for free and are priced below both the iPad 2 and iPad Air respectively.

Making Apple’s decision to build the price of their less popular and less powerful iWork into their tablets not a very big (or very good) deal.


....Microsoft understands how people work better than anyone else on the planet...We literally wrote the book on getting things done. 

And so it’s not surprising that we see other folks now talking about how much “work” you can get done on their devices. Adding watered down productivity apps. Bolting on aftermarket input devices. All in an effort to convince people that their entertainment devices are really work machines.

In that spirit, Apple announced yesterday that they were dropping their fees on their “iWork” suite of apps. Now, since iWork has never gotten much traction, and was already priced like an afterthought, it’s hardly that surprising or significant a move. And it doesn’t change the fact that it’s much harder to get work done on a device that lacks precision input and a desktop for true side-by-side multitasking.
...

So, when I see Apple drop the price of their struggling, lightweight productivity apps, I don’t see a shot across our bow, I see an attempt to play catch up.

Frank Shaw

Of course his comment overlooks the fact that most Windows 8.1 tablets don't include Office.  And it also is somewhat ironic that he espouses standardization in Office as a selling point, when Microsoft was long accused of fighting or otherwise trying to subvert standards to make Office documents compatible with open source alternatives (although it's recently come around somewhat).

II. ... But he has some points

However, Office as freebie -- particularly with the $449 USD Surface 2 -- is a pretty good deal.
 

Surface 2 (L) and Surface Pro 2 (R)

And Mr. Shaw is correct that Apple's iWork feature-wise is more comparable to the already free Google Docs (by Google Inc. (GOOG)) than Office; in fact Google Docs is arguably more powerful in that it's cross platform compatible (like Office).  Both Google Docs and iWork will meet the needs of most casual users.  But for many enterprise and power users, moving from Office to these free lighter alternatives is not an option and Microsoft knows that.

Google Docs
Google Docs is more compatible than iWork and also free.

Also it's worth noting that Microsoft didn't start this flame war.  Mr. Shaw's comment comes after Apple CEO Tim Cook at the keynote commented:

Our competition is different: They're confused. They chased after netbooks. Now they're trying to make PCs into tablets and tablets into PCs.  Who knows what they'll do next?"

We have a very clear direction and a very ambitious goal. We still believe deeply in this category and we're not slowing down on our innovation.

Tim Cook snickering
Apple CEO Tim Cook [Image Source: Reuters]

Most perceived the comment to a nameless attack on Microsoft, and to a lesser extent Google, whose Android OS now leads the tablet market.

Source: Microsoft [TechNet]



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RE: Not Surprising
By djdjohnson on 10/25/2013 2:48:05 PM , Rating: 1
...and that is why, after twenty years, that HTML still has very poor support for graphics, no standard way of letting users markup documents, no support for things like text wrapping around non-rectangular objects, flowing text between frames. Not to mention that it is very difficult to get HTML objects to appear exactly where you want or be rendered exactly the same across browsers.

HTML now isn't really any different than HTML of the 1990s. JavaScript (even the mess that it is) has changed quite a bit, but the underlying HTML isn't really fundamentally different than it was ten years ago. One could easily argue that progress in HTML has been far slower than it has been in proprietary formats like those in Office.

The truth of the matter is that for HTML to progress you've got to get a lot of different parties to agree on what it is and how to use it, and many of those parties don't like each other, and don't want to adopt ideas created by someone else.

You can talk about the progress of browsers, but browsers aren't HTML. They are HTML interpreters.

And none of that addresses the fact that coding HTML and Javascript is a pain in the butt. The web is far harder to develop for than proprietary environments like Win32/WinRT/Cocoa.

Open standards don't equate to fast progress and ease of use. It seems to actually go the other way. Open standards are good in that it means that anyone can use them. But in terms of making improvements, the fact that there isn't just one body in charge means that changes take forever.


"You can bet that Sony built a long-term business plan about being successful in Japan and that business plan is crumbling." -- Peter Moore, 24 hours before his Microsoft resignation














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